Playing The Trump Card


Stefanie Schaeffer capitalizes on the opportunities after winning The Apprentice


High School graduate Stefanie Schaeffer (class of 1992) speaks rhapsodically about the tallest residential building in Las Vegas, which welcomed its first occupants on March 31. "It's 64 stories encased in 24-karat [gilded] gold glass, and its gorgeous." Schaeffer says." It looks like a jewel in the middle of the skyline."

Since April 2007, the winner of Donald Trump's 2006-2007 season of The Apprentice has served as vice president of sales and marketing for the Trump International Tower under a contract that came with her win on the reality show. She chose working on Trump's Cap Cana hotel apartment golf course development in the Dominican Republic over a high rise in Atlanta. Ga.. and then asked for an additional assignment, one that involved the subject of one of The Apprentice tasks. "I fell in love with the Las Vegas project during the filming." says Schaeffer, who spends half of every week in Las Vegas and the rest of her time in her hometown of Oak Park, that is, when she isn't jetting to the Dominican Republic ("as Mr. Trump sees fit") or to New York to attend meetings or update The Donald on the progress of the projects. (Incidentally, she never calls him anything but "Mr. Trump," saying, "I think it's more respectful.")

"I work pretty much 24/7." Schaeffer says. "I am working to market the Las Vegas project in California to different real estate companies and brokerage firms. I speak professionally about the Trump Organization and the Las Vegas project while in California to entice buyers from other areas beyond just the Las Vegas locals." Despite the long hours, Schaeffer never considered asking for a vacation during her yearlong contract. "If I decide to go away and go skiing for a weekend, I am able to do that," she says, and then adds. "Your vacation is when you go to sleep at night and when your phone stops ringing - if it stops."

Schaeffer not only speaks as a representative of the Trump Organization, but also as a motivational speaker at charity functions, commencement ceremonies, and meetings of women's groups.

"I enjoy sharing the message about the importance of perseverance and a positive attitude in business, not only in business though, but in life as well," she says. In fact, she has developed her own program called Strut Your Stuff that "focuses on techniques that help you balance your personal and professional life." That includes healthy eating, skin care, and, she notes, "etiquette, which I think is something really forgotten in today's society, the basics, like being nice." Whether or not it's proper etiquette, the question she gets asked most often is whether Trump's hair is real. "It is absolutely real," she affirms. "It is his hair, and he loves it."

The Strut Your Stuff concept came to her after she made appearances as The Apprentice winner. "I had requests for a book." Schaeffer says, adding that the American Cancer Society asked to purchase books to pass out copies to 2,000 at its May meeting in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, there is no book yet. As for how to achieve the balance she espouses, she says, "I think it's important to make time in your day that gives you pleasure if that means 10 minutes of going to your favorite coffee shop and buying a cup of espresso or jo minutes on the treadmill or sitting outside in the sun and reading a couple of magazine articles, you have to find your little bits of pleasure throughout the day and infuse them into your day." Schaeffer labels these "catnaps of pleasure."

Previously a Los Angeles lawyer defending worker's compensation cases, Schaeffer actually took a pay cut to work as Trump's apprentice at a salary of $250,000. And she had to take a more humble position in the organizational structure, winning over those already working on Trump's projects. "It's about jumping in and being a team player and not going into it feeling it's an entitlement." she says.

"The onus is on me coming in and making myself part of the team. It's about being nice. It's about being professional. My attitude is I can always learn something from every single person I encounter," she says, then adds, "and maybe [I can] teach or give something back in some way. That attitude has never failed me."

She claims Trump has never given her bad advice, but has given her a lot of good advice. "The best advice is something I already knew from my father, but that he reinforced: to be fearless unfailingly, to be fearless in everything you do and to have a very, very strong belief in yourself regardless of what other people say." As gruff as Donald ("You're fired!") Trump can be in The Apprentice boardroom. Schaeffer says he has never been rough with her. "I have never given him reason to be rough with me," she says. "He is down to earth. He expects a lot, and I give him more than he expects. ... I am very good at what I do."

Dose of Reality TV
Win, lose, or draw, Stefanie Schaeffer says she would repeat the experience again - as tough as it was.
"What wasn't tough about that show?" she asks rhetorically. "It's entirely competitive, which for me is no problem. There was a large amount of back-stabbing, which was fine, because I didn't take part." The aspect of the show that was difficult for her was the penalty bestowed on the losing team each week:
"Living outside in a tent with no electricity or running water. Living outside with no creature comforts and still having to be at the top of your game. Wearing a moldy suit, dirty heels, and the top of your head looking like it was done with an eggbeater. I believe I brushed my teeth with Heineken and Colgate on more than one occasion."
The best part of the show, she says, was "the friends that I made along the way that I will be in touch with the rest of my life. Also, what I learned about myself. I realized that I arn far stronger than I thought I ever was. That show taught me that I can withstand anything."

Vegas Magazine

On Her Toes

One of the "perks" Stefanie Schaeffer includes in winning the title of The Apprentice is that she never knows when she'll answer her phone to find Donald Trump on the other end. "It's great, he keeps me on my toes," says Schaeffer, 33, who nabbed the reality-television title in April. "He could even show up at my door, totally unexpected." If getting to know "Mr. Trump" has been the best part of life post-Apprentice, a close second is her new gig as vice president of marketing for Trump International Hotel & Tower in Las Vegas. The golden 65-story high-rise, set smack in the middle of the Strip, offers a collection of top-notch condos and is due to open in spring of 2008. "I was so struck by it," says Schaeffer of the building, which she first laid eyes on while taping the show last season. That afternoon changed my life. I love construction; it's my passion. So when I saw the site and saw the models of the units, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it."

Although initially offered the position of overseeing a Trump project in the Dominican Republic, she approached the real-estate giant and asked specifically to be placed in her current assignment. "I was set on Vegas," explains the former trial lawyer, who lives in Los Angeles but travels to Las Vegas every week.

When asked about what she wants to do with her future, Schaeffer says, "Once you're a lawyer, you're always a lawyer. But real-estate development is a new interest, and I would love to be a motivational speaker or a TV commentator. I come from very talkative parents, and any opportunity to talk is great."

Her contract with The Apprentice is only a one-year gig, but Schaeffer would like to stay on, if the Big Guy will have her. "Of course I'm going to ask. And if Mr. Trump decides to extend my term, I have no idea what will happen." ---Kate Bennett


"Stefanie, you're hired!" Donald Trump told former trial attorney, Stefanie Schaeffer, during the finale of the Apprentice, Season Six. Mr. Trump had two candidates left and could only choose one as his next apprentice for a project in the Dominican Republic and Las Vegas. Schaeffer and her opponent, James Sun, sat before Trump during what seemed to be a cross examination while answering a row of questions one after the other. "I didn't exactly know at what moment Mr. Trump made his decision because it was just a series of questions and bullets flying at me and I had to defend myself," Schaeffer said and continued, "I thought that Mr. Trump hired James and then James looked at me and gave me a big hug and because James was smiling, I couldn't tell. I did not hear over the crowd what Mr. Trump said, so I was completely shocked that I had won. Pleasantly surprised," Schaeffer said. Read More...


Stefanie Schaeffer, a confirmed Valley girl, beat thousands of wanabees to become The Donald's next right-hand lady. No longer a mere apprentice, she's well on her way to becoming a master. As one might imagine, Stefanie Schaeffer's new job working for Donald Trump takes her around the world. When she reports for work in the Dominican Republic, "There are black rocks and foliage and greenery, turquoise water and pure white sands. You just half-expect a pirate ship to come around the corner. I'm looking for Johnny Depp." The statuesque, confident 32-year-old often jets to New York, Las Vegas and the Caribbean, where she oversees the Trump development in Cap Cana, which will include hotels, apartments and golf courses. Read More...

Stefanie Schaeffer trumps the competition
Oak Park resident wins 'Apprentice'
By Stephanie Bertholdo -

Whether Stefanie Schaeffer purposely devised a strategy to fly under the radar of her fellow candidates on this season's "The Apprentice" and away from the firing squad in Donald Trump's board room, or is simply a poised, behind- the-scenes business professional who knows how to get the job done without ruffling any feathers, it doesn't matter. Schaeffer, a resident of Oak Park, was named Trump's sixth apprentice Sunday in a live production at the Hollywood Bowl.
The 32-year-old attorney made Apprentice history. Schaeffer never served as a task project manager during the course of the 13-week progrram, nor was she ever sent to the boardroom to face barbs from her fellow candidates vying for the same dream job or criticism from the Trump clan, that is until the final episode when the four finalists were paraded on stage and critiqued by "The Donald." Read More...

Is our soon-to-be desert resident the next "Apprentice"?
By Valeric Christopher -

Stefanie Schaeffer visits you every Sunday evening at 9 p.m. As one of the sixth-season apprentice candidates for Donald Trump's NEC reality show, The Apprentice, this brunette has closer ties to the desert than just where the show is shot in Los Angeles.Schaeffer spent her teenage years in the desert, graduating from Palm Springs High School and feeling as though whenever she stepped foot outside of a classroom she walked into paradise. Read More...